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Universal Supports

Universal Supports 

AIM universal supports benefit the whole pre-school environment through empowering pre-school providers to create a more inclusive culture in their settings. This is achieved through; Continuous Professional Development (CPD), an inclusion charter and guidelines for pre-schools and a Level 6  qualification in Inclusion (LINC).

Level 1 – Inclusion Coordinator Training (LINC)

The Leadership for Inclusion in Early Years Care (LINC) qualification is a level 6 special purpose award for early years educators hosted by the LINC Consortium which is led by Mary Immaculate College and fully funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY).

With this qualification, pre-school staff can become an Inclusion Coordinator (INCO) in a pre-school setting. The role of the Inclusion Co-ordinator is to provide leadership within the early years setting in relation to issues of diversity, equality and inclusion. This includes; supporting the implementation of inclusive practices, engaging with ongoing CPD to ensure good practice in the inclusion of children with additional needs and sharing their learning with other staff members.

Where a service provider is a fully qualified Inclusion Co-ordinator or employs a fully qualified Inclusion Co-ordinator in their pre-school setting, that provider will qualify for an increase of €2 per child per week in the rate of ECCE capitation payable.

The LINC programme really increased my confidence in talking to parents about inclusion and disability. The lessons I have learned through the programme have spread to colleagues and has created a more inclusive and quality childcare experience in my pre-school.”

Margaret O Brien, Little Stars Montessori School, Laois

CPD for Inclusion Coordinators

The CPD for Inclusion Coordinators (INCOs) continuing professional development (CPD) programme is aimed at graduates of the LINC Level 6 Special Purpose Award.

Delivered completely online, the CPD programme is designed to:

For information on how to apply for LINC or increased capitation visit the How to Apply for Universal Supports page of our website or the LINC website.

The documents below contain further information on LINC and the INCO role.

Inclusion Coordinator Key Documents

Level 1 – EDI Training

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Charter was developed by DCEDIY to support and empower those working in the sector to explore, understand and develop inclusive practices for the benefit of children, their families and wider society. EDI training helps providers; understand the EDI charter and guidelines, create their own inclusion charter for their setting, develop an anti-bias approach in early years and more.

These courses are free of charge and available nationwide, more information about how to apply can be found via your local CCC, you can find your local CCC at

Level 3 – Continuing Professional Development 

AIM also supports settings by providing three Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses in the areas of disability and inclusion these are:

Hanen, Lámh and SPEL are delivered by Better Start. SPEL is hosted on Better Start’s LMS (learning management system).

Additional Resources For Practitioners